Kids learning business

TREP$ Marketplace for Helen Morgan 5th graders


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  • Helen Morgan Elementary School 5th Graders held a TREP$ Marketplace at Sparta Middle School earlier this month Photos by Rose Sgarlato




  • Josiah Smith, creator of Stress Less Balls, addresses a common problem




  • Lea Tsamadias' Hand-Made Tapestries adds a decorative touch at the Marketplace




  • Named after her dog, Kate Sutphen created Bailey’s Biscuits, homemade treats for pets.




  • Jeremy Cruise and John Ferraro parlayed the popular survival game Fortnite into a business, selling keychains and bracelets.




  • Catherine Mason and Aubry Zimmerman of Sea Creations with organic soaps. Proceeds went to Save the Whales.




  • Cork Dork Faith Kelly makes good use of leftover corks with made-to-order letters and plants inside corks.




  • Dream Catchers in many sizes and themes created by Natalie Torres.




  • What everyone needs more of but with a twist:tie-dye socks by Brian Sisti and Brody Tanyeri of Tye Dye Inc.




By Rose Sgarlato

— All kinds of products were proudly displayed by Helen Morgan Fifth graders last week at their TREP$ Marketplace.

The two-day event at Sparta Middle School showcased the creativity and ingenuity of the participants. And many fellow students got to shop their hearts out.

The after-school program sponsored by Helen Morgan PTO, based on an award-winning model developed in New Jersey, teaches students’ skills needed to start their own businesses. The five-week workshops incorporate product development, business finance, advertising, marketing and salesmanship.

The name TREP$ derives from the word "entrepreneur."

The program culminated on April 10 and 11 at TREP$ Marketplace where 173 participants sold their products.

“Without a doubt this event is a highlight of the 5th grade experience. As educators, we seek to create rich and authentic learning experiences for our students and I think if you were to ask all of our young entrepreneurs they would agree that we have achieved that, ” said Doug Layman, principal of Helen Morgan Elementary School. “Starting your own business takes courage, creativity, hard work and determination and I think the students have a better idea of what this means and how it can guide their own paths of success. “

Almost every area of retail was on display: home décor items featured dream catchers and wall hangings; pampering items including stress-less balls and stress poppers , bath bombs and organic soaps; the always popular slime and random items such as cork crafts, key chains, phone cases and magnets.

And no one left TREP$ hungry: cake pops, candy sushi, Shirley Temples, cookie dough and cotton candy are just a sample of the many edible, homemade treats created by the students.

Layman also thanked key players, co-advisors and teachers Matt Grogaard and Morgan Bleakley for running the program.

“Watching the outcome from the combination of all of the hard work from our 5th graders during the course of the program paying off mixed with the overwhelming show of support from the community made the program a success on all sides. It was a very positive, memorable experience as an advisor and one I hope to repeat next year,” said Grogaard.











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